Gov. Mark Gordon is allocating $30 million in federal funds to provide staffing relief and support for current health care staff and to secure traveling medical staff.
Gordon’s office announced the move on Wednesday, saying this was his way to address staffing challenges at Wyoming health care facilities amidst a surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations.
“Wyoming’s healthcare system and healthcare workers, in every community are feeling the strain of this surge,” Gordon said. “We need to recognize our healthcare workers’ commitment to caring for our neighbors during the pandemic. They are working extra-long hours and at times having to cover for sick colleagues. These are very stressful times for all of us, but particularly those in the healthcare industry. This is a means to thank them and to try to make sure we can keep them on the job.”
The governor has allocated the $20 million to be used by facilities on a discretionary basis to stabilize staffing levels. The funding is available to fill staffing shortages, provide hazard pay, and strengthen recruitment efforts for the state’s existing healthcare workforce.
The additional $10 million will be available to privately-owned Wyoming hospitals and long-term care facilities for traveling medical staff through a contract with the Wyoming Hospital Association.
Nonprofit and county-owned hospitals that have secured their own traveling medical staff will continue to be eligible for 100% reimbursement through FEMA funding.
The governor will pursue additional options to support healthcare providers during the surge, including the utilization of Wyoming National Guard members as needed.
As of Tuesday, Wyoming hospitals reported a total of 230 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, nearly as many as were hospitalized during the peak of the last surge in November.